Recently I've been noticing a theme going on in my life. Has that ever happened to you, like when you discover something and then that thing keeps emerging in different forms over, and over, and over again? Chances are it was probably there all along but now your eyes just sees it in a different light and Bam(!), it's right there in your face.
It's not like a light bulb that goes off in your head and you realize that you need to act fast. It's more like a stream of Christmas lights, totally unassuming and if you're in the mood it can bring you some cheer.
Lately I've been getting the vibe that I need to feed my family healthier meals. It started happening when I was re-writing my about page and thinking about the type of food that I cook. It was also the visit to the doctor last week where I asked Maria's pediatrician why her nose has been runny non-stop since March of last year. We're thinking she might have a food allergy, we just need to know what. Then I saw these movies, and then I got this book to review, and then my good friend, Ana Paula, told me about the benefits of eating raw foods, and now I want to change the way we eat. Not in a preachy way, I mean I'm not even sure it's realistic considering our student income budget, but I do want my family to eat more organic produce, whole grains, and less sugar.
Is that totally unrealistic?
I think it was exactly a week ago today I spent all morning watching the videos from Lunch Love Community about the Berkley School Lunch initiative. The journey of these parents advocating and full on changing the school system is inspiring to the core. So much so that I decided I'm going to go see the screening and meet these fine folks next week in Berkley. I would love it if you'd join me.
I have no complaints about what Enzo eats at school. Luckily it's a small preschool with parents that remind me of the ones in the Lunch Love Community, and teachers and administration who want nothing more than to raise healthy kids. The food there is amazing.
Today I spent the morning in Enzo's class reading Mitch Spinach and then had the kids help me make a green smoothie. My purpose wasn't to expose the kids to healthy food, they get that everyday with their school lunch. Mostly I just like seeing Enzo in school, it's not every day I get to hear him speaking English in his cute accent.
However, there is something I felt like I could contribute and this is just one small step to a larger project I hope to develop in my community. You see, my community is special. We live in Family Student Housing, which means that we live on a student income. Because of this we have the privilege of welcoming a Second Harvest food truck twice a month that brings us free food. It's called the Food Pantry. Don't feel sorry for us for using the Food Pantry. We're fine. Honestly, it's totally part of our routine and you've seen the food I cook here, no one is starving or in dire need of help.
Actually, I feel like most of the time the real help we need is figuring out what to make with all the food. These are produce that need to be used up right away, artisan bread from our local bakeries that are sometimes hard, and random items like big packages of frozen lobster meat from Maine. This morning for example, at our community breakfast, we were discussing what to make with the big brick of frozen lobster meat we got this week. Some of the guys busted out a saw and was sawing the brick down into smaller pieces so that you could make a lobster dip, for example, instead of using the whole thing (it's huge, I can't even describe it) to make a dish that feeds at least 50 people.
So today I got the food pantry bananas I froze in the fall, and the food pantry strawberries Christian froze in the summer, and some frozen apricots we got this week and added some spinach, broccoli, carrots, flax seed powder, chia seeds, avocados, and water to make a super smoothie for the kids in Enzo's class. And since most of the kids also get food from the Food Pantry, I encouraged them to freeze the fruits when it's abundant and to eat their spinach because it's good for them.
I don't know if they'll remember.
But they did like the smoothie and they loved the story about Mitch Spinach.
We got this children's book called Mitch Spinach in the mail to review. This book changed Enzo's life, the kid is now converted to spinach.
Will it last?
Probably not. I mean, I hope it lasts, but I know how sporadic their moods change and how one minute they're into spinach and the next they're so not. I'm just thrilled that for the past 5 days he's been asking for spinach and has eaten his fair share of green things, enough to make me satisfied.
We got the book on Monday and he had us read it to him at least 10 times before dinner. It weirded me out, specially when he started asking to eat spinach. Remember how I had to pay him a quarter to eat soup that had mustard greens? Luckily Monday night we had some friends over for dinner. Jennie brought a spinach salad. Enzo ate it. Amazing.
On Tuesday he woke up and made me promise that I would buy all the ingredients to make a green smoothie just like the one Mitch drinks.
When your kid begs you to buy spinach you do it and when he likes it so much he wants to share it with his class you do it again. Rule of thumb: listen when your kids want to make a positive change.
Enzo's Green Smoothie
3 cups baby spinach
4 baby carrots
4 broccoli florets
4 frozen strawberries
2 frozen bananas
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 soft avocado
1 teaspoon flax seed powder
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon green powder (Spirulina)
2 cup water, plus more if needed
- Put all the ingredients in the blender with 2 cups water and blend on high until smoothie like consistency.
- Add more water to get the consistency that you like.
If your kid is older than my kid and Mitch Spinach doesn't seem that cool, at least not cool enough to be convinced that green smoothies are good, try these variations instead.
- Green Popsicles from The Little Foodie
- Not So-Green Smoothie that looks just like chocolate milk from (never home) maker
- Chocolate Banana Green Monster who also has cute dog picture on the same post, much to baby Maria's liking, from The Edible Perspective
- Vegan Apple Pie Smoothie from Diet, Desserts, and Dogs
Have a great weekend.
Enjoy the superbowl, or not.